life hacks london
No time to get a manicure or pedicure?
Being a “creative”, my life is filled with impromptu meetings and manic, inconsistent work schedules. Planning non-professional appointments of any kind feels like a nightmare when work is your priority, let alone for time-sensitive services like blow dries and waxing.

Thankfully, Wonderwomen of the same ilk have created CitySwish. The app makes last-minute, in-home beauty services – even massage and tanning – possible with just a few swipes. Last week, I had a classic pedicure while blogging and a salon-perfect gel manicure while catching up on The Office (#indulgence). All from the comfort of my own office.

No time to snack healthy?
With healthy home delivery meal services like Fresh Flavours and restaurants like Maple & Fitz popping up all over London, we are all enabled to dine healthy but much less inclined to snack healthy.

As a lack of hydration is often confused for hunger, my first stop is Chi. I am a coconut water purist and, in my opinion, preservative-free Chi is the only brand that nails the fresh-from-a-Thai-beach taste while delivering raw potassium (double that of a banana) and bioactive enzymes (a digestive system’s BFF).

On the food front, I have recently become a thankful customer of two healthy snack companies. The first – The Giving Tree – have created a range of freeze-dried and vacuum-fried fruit and vegetable crisps (everything from peach to pumpkin) that satisfy sugar and crisp cravings better than any other.

The second – EarlyBird – takes snacking to a new level. The subscription snack service comes in beautifully-illustrated boxes and features five healthy snacks and two teas in each box with the option to customise your deliveries. With a plethora of gluten-free and vegan-friendly options (even brownies!), EarlyBird takes all possible stress and boredom out of healthy snacking as we know it.

No time to get your roots done?
The second I went platinum, the fear of roots was instilled in me. Though I’ve been every hair colour under the sun, nothing is quite as noticeable as white on auburn and it is a scheduling impossibility to head in for a bleach every other week.

The ColourWow Root Cover Up is an absolute godsend. Using the small powder compact, roots and regrowth disappear in minutes and stay hidden until your next hair wash without feeling sticky, oily, or clumpy. The water-resistant pressed powders (which come in a variety of colours) contain a number of pigments and reflective particles to ensure a natural match and – when using the kit’s special brush – even blend seamlessly with highlights. It is the most ingenious hair colour product of the decade.

No time to look after your skin?
I was introduced to Skin Design London during a wonderful facial at Azamay skin clinic and, after a few weeks of use, now consider two of their products to be impeccable difference-makers.

As a top-tier team, Retinol 01 Creme and Sleeping Beauty Night Cream are powerful enough to perfect the skin of even the laziest Wonderwoman. Used in the morning alongside an SPF, the anti-ageing Retinol Creme utilizes Palmytol Tripeptide-3 (SYN-COLL) 3% to mimic your skin’s collagen production while hydrating and smoothing to an intensive standard.

After cleansing in the evening, Sleeping Beauty then pampers your skin with a revitalising blend of jojoba oil, collagen, green tea, red tea, white tea, acai berry, rosehip oil, avocado oil, vitamin E, vitamin C, and Omega 3, 6, & 9. It is the overnight secret to supple, vibrant skin.

khaleesi hair tutorial 1
As far as hair goals are concerned, Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen has got that ish on lockdown.

Of course, no-one outside of Meereen wakes up with such tresses. Not even Emilia Clarke. For the actress, platinum hair perfection is achieved via the use of full lace wigs but mere mortals don’t have it so easy.

Or, we didn’t until now.

With the assistance of my beloved and very talented hairdresser (Serafina of Gro London‘s Hampstead branch), we have brought epic Khaleesi hair to DIY life.

Inspired by her most intricate Season 5 ‘do, we have spelled out the how-tos for your Halloween, cosplay, or just-because pleasure, below. Enjoy!

What you’ll need…
Redken Stay High 18 High-Hold Gel to Mousse
Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum Miracle Filler Treatment
Hairspray
1-inch barrel curling iron
Hairbrush
Mini hair ties (clear, if possible)
Hair grips/bobby pins
Clip-in hair extensions (I review the ones used here at the end of this post!)

Khaleesi/Daenerys Targaryen Hair Tutorial

1. Blow dry your natural hair completely. As we’ll be using extensions, the more volume we can get at this stage, the better. Layer Stay High 18 over Perfect 4 Platinum to ensure protected, enormous results. (Big/fluffy is okay as we’ll be curling everything later).
2. Separate your extensions into weft sizes (you’ll have everything from 1-clip 2″ wefts to 4-clip 8″ wefts).
3. Leave two small sections of hair loose in front of your ears. If you’d like, place a playing card or small piece of card under a clip to hold the sections away from the rest of your hair.
4. Section most of your hair on top of your head, leaving room to clip your largest weft roughly 2 inches from the base of your neck.
5. In sections, curl the extension hair with your natural hair.
6. Take another inch or two of hair down from the top of your head and place the next-largest weft securely against the scalp.
7. Repeat, checking each weft blends seamlessly into your natural hair with a mirror.
8. At the top of the head, finish with your smallest wefts and remove your card clips to curl both strands in front of the ears.
9. Take two equidistant sections of hair from the front of the hairline and create two modified french braids which only incorporate the hair between the sections (no strands from the outside or underneath). Stop 1/4 of the way down the length of the hair and tie the braids with mini hair ties.
10. Bring the braids together in the middle and wrap a small section of the unbraided but sectioned hair around the hair ties, securing in the back with a hair grip. Use clips to hold the hair together if you find it difficult to ‘hold and wrap’.
11. Using slightly larger sections of hair below the first braids, repeat steps 9 and ten incorporating the ‘fall’ of the first braids into the centre to keep everything symmetrical.
12. Hairspray to secure.
13. Be Mother of Dragons.

daenareys hair
khaleesi hair tutorial 1
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su man facial
If there is one name in the skincare world renowned by celebrities and beauty editors alike, it’s Su-Man – the facialist of Freida Pinto, Joely Richardson. Olga Kurylenko, Juliette Binoche, and many more skinsational beauties.

Last week, I braved the open skies of London and high-tailed it to the Away Spa at W London to finally get my face into her expert hands.

After examining my skin underneath a freehand digital microscope it took all of ten seconds for us to get acquainted, have a giggle, and get me topless.

This is how all great friendships begin.

For the next hour and a half, Su-Man used an experienced combination of Asian wisdom and Western science to completely transform the texture of my skin. Though my skin has always been sensitive and prone to redness, I was completely amazed to see that the more Su-Man worked on my skin the less redness there was. After a deep cleanse and manual impurity extraction, Su-Man moves on to exfoliate, apply a mask, and take a break for a life-changing deep tissue massage of the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs and feet.

This alone took the traditional facial experience to an entirely new plane.

To finish, Su-Man applies a combination of her skin care products with each massage stroke repeated 36 times in accordance to the ancient Chinese belief that the number six is lucky and helps lead the individual to a perfect state of health and happiness.

I spent the rest of the day makeup-free without a single insecurity and have enjoyed lifted, purified and energised skin every day since. You can absolutely judge this book by her cover.

(For bookings, contact facials@su-man.com)

little ondine
As a woman obsessed with natural beauty (or green beauty) there are very few opportunities for me to get excited about new beauty products. Luckily, this little subsection of the beauty industry is hugely innovative and has produced all of the wondrous products below:

Ayurveda Pura
Ayurveda Pura’s ‘De-Tox’ Herbal Tea is the first of three products I have grown to love from their line. As a tea lover, I have tried a number of Ayurvedic teas but nothing featured such a beautiful blend of certified organic ingredients. By the brand’s admission, it helps to gently flush out toxins, clear the energy channels, improve metabolism, and stimulate without caffeinating. A complete staple

Their next product – the Skin-Radiance Exfoliating Cream: De-Stress Formula – has become I godsend I didn’t realise I even needed. Unlike harsh exfoliators, this formula is perfect for drier and more sensitive skin types. While it exfoliates with jojoba grains, it also nourishes with jojoba oil (anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory!) and essential oils of neroli, lemon and frankincense. The perfect addition to a coconut oil cleanse.

Last from Ayurveda Pura: the Daily Replenish Face Cream: Re-Fresh Formula. I rarely choose to use face creams as I don’t feel comfortable when I can feel things on my skin, but this blend of aloe vera, almond, peach and essential oils (rose, neroli and orange) sinks into the skin in less than one minute with no residue. Unbelievably nourishing, to boot.

Little Ondine
Another surprise favourite! Every ‘natural’ nail polish I’ve tried until Little Ondine has been, well, catastrophic. These guys were the game-changers with their all-natural and chemical-free combination of natural resin, organic colourants and water.

Not only do they stay put as long as a normal nail polish, but they actually hydrate your nails and come off by simply peeling from an edge. The odourless polishes come in a slew of pretty hues (even glitters!) meaning you are sure to find a natural dupe for your chemical-laden favourites. A complete no-brainer.

ayurveda pura
little ondine